WATERBURY — At least 42 youngsters will enjoy camp this summer as part of the 2020 Greater Waterbury Campership Fund.
Monday is the deadline for applicants for this summer, when at least some of the fund’s participating camps will be open, with attendance limits and health regulations to protect campers and staff from catching or spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Last week, the Campership Fund’s volunteer directors voted to pay tuition for all eligible applicants who had so far applied.
As expected, the number is a dramatic decrease from previous years, because about half the participating camps chose not to open this summer.
The nonprofit’s board approved $22,426 for 42 kids who will be attending camping facilities run by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury (one child), Cheshire YMCA (five children), Environmental Learning Centers’ Indian Rock Camp (one child) and Greater Waterbury YMCA (35 children).
Most of the fund’s campers this year, 32, are headed to the YMCA’s Camp Mataucha in Watertown, a longtime participant in the Campership Fund program.
“We wanted to serve the community as a whole and continue offering summer camping experiences,” said Adam Dubois, Camp Mataucha director. He noted all the guidelines and recommendations from the state’s Office of Early Childhood and the American Camping Association will be followed.
Dubois said the most noticeable changes will be much less “intermingling” among the campers. The ratio of staff member per campers will be 1 to 10.
Nevertheless, Dubois said, “We’re looking forward to having a great summer out here.”
The June 15 deadline to apply for a Campership was an extension because of the uncertainties created by the coronavirus pandemic.
There certainly is both room and tuition money available for last-minute eligible applicants. The 2020 campaign has raised $105,929 to cover tuition. That total additionally will receive a significant boost when pledged grants of $5,000 from the Ion Bank Foundation, and $40,000 from the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund, are formally received and deposited into the spending account.
The target goal for the current campaign is $165,000. Any unused funds will be carried over into 2021 and applied to next year’s summer camp season that everyone hopes will not be marred by a pandemic or other crisis.
The United Way of Greater Waterbury volunteers its professional services to screen applicants for eligibility. Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott or Woodbury, are eligible to apply.
Applications can be obtained from the United Way, by searching Campership on rep-am.com, and for the first time, directly from the participating camps throughout the state that assist the Campership Fund.
The Cheshire YMCA’s Camp Sloper, the Girl Scouts’ Camp An-Se-Ox and the Greater Waterbury YMCA’s Camp Oakasha also are opening this summer, but had not received any eligible Campership applicants as of last week.
Every penny raised by the Campership Fund, a 501(c)3, goes toward sending accepted applicants to camp.
During the Campership Fund’s 50th anniversary year in 2019, tuition payments totaling $157,457 paid for 434 children to attend camp.
Donations may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.
Regular donations totaling $925 received last week included:
• Mr. John W. Ford, Naugatuck, in memory of Robert Veillette, former managing editor of the Republican-American, and Jonathan Kellogg, former executive editor of the Republican-American, $350
• Charter Oak Asset Management Inc., Cheshire, $250
• Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Cheryl Watson, Southington, $200
• Somma Tool Co. Inc., Waterbury, $100
• Mr. and Mrs. Carl and June Gemino, Wolcott, in memory of Irene Parry, $25